8.28.2005

Diving into the Crapometer headfirst...Volunteer #3



The City of Sins.

That was what the fundamentalists and the conservatives called Karahque. I
wasn't sure if I agreed with the assessment. The City of Sinful Delights
was a more apt description for the off-planet pleasure quarters, and
Karahque was called exactly that by most people.



blahblahblah. Since we don't know what ANY of this is, I'm not hooked here.



My mini-shuttle slowed to a stop on the docking bay of Karahque. The
shuttle was a pretty yellow thing, and although I didn't make enough money
to afford one, it was mine for the night, and I intended to enjoy the feel
of the luxurious leather on my skin and the soft purr of the engine while I
had it.


Now, here it's more interesting. Even though we don't know the narrator, we see something happening. Consider putting the description of the first paragraph AFTER you've hooked us.


The docking bay had a vaulted ceiling made of GS--short for glass steel, the
transparent material that was glare-proof, heat resistant, and stronger than
steel. The ceiling had zero percent opacity, and I could see the stars
sprinkled across the vast dark emptiness through the GS.


oh this is one of my least favorite things to read...telling us an abbreviation and then explaining it. I'm not sure why it bugs me but it drives me nuts. Consider "made of glass steel -the transparent material that was etc." We'll KNOW that's the GS later. Readers will make those intuitive leaps with you.


In the five-tiered open garage were hundreds of private shuttles parked
orderly.


argh. Consider: hundreds of private shuttles were parked in the five tiered open garage.


The entire area looked like a hive, and the docking bay attendants
moved like worker bees to secure a place for my shuttle to drop me off.


Consider: The entire area was a hive; the docking bay attendants moved like worker bees etc.

"Looked like" takes you OUT of the narrative, "was" puts you right smack dab IN the action. For first person narrative I like smack dab in the action. I don't want to feel like the narrator is telling me a story, I want to be IN the story with him/her (or perhaps since this is science fiction here: it!)


They were androids, made to look flawless and gorgeous in various skin
colors and in both sexes. The skintight red shirt hugged their lean torso
with flat abs, and the male androids wore long black pants, while the
females wore black mini skirts with strappy sandals. Hardly practical for
the docking bay attendants, but the androids didn't feel any discomfort from
wearing uncomfortable shoes.


Ok, this is just me, but I have a visceral hate-on for perfection in characters -lean torsos, flat abs, flawless skin - so I think it's hysterical that the androids are designed that way since it says that those characteristics can be machine made and are "not human"!

You've got some grammar problems here though: The skintight red shirt hugged their lean torso with flat abs is a mess. Consider: Skintight red shirts hugged lean torsos with flat abs. Male androids wore long black pants; the females black mini skirts with strappy sandals.



Lucky them.


oh, Miss Snark loves sardonic humor. It's also nice rhythmically.

Sorry to say, I'd probably send this one back with a "not quite right" since there's some fundamental problems with it.

1 comment:

Christine said...

I'd probably tell this writer to run, not walk, to the bookstore and pick up a copy of "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers", because most of the construction problems I saw in there are addressed in that book.

I LOVE that book. And I hate perfect characters too... I just finished "Good in Bed". WHY did I never know about Jennifer Weiner before. She's my kind of girl. Not only that, but we're practically neighbors :) Yeah, I live in the dreaded NJ.